The meeting commenced at 2:10
Present: John Shepherd (chair), Alan Blair, Adam Brimo, Oliver Diessel, Bruno Gaeta (from 3pm), Rex Kwok, Ashesh Mahidadia, Kathy Mitris, Helen Paik, Sri Parameswaran, Arthur Ramer (until 3pm), Ken Robinson, Malcolm Ryan, Jingling Xue (from 3pm)
Apologies: Kai Engelhart, Maurice Pagnucco
Minutes of Previous Meeting (14 Mar 2008)
Teaching Load, Course Offerings
This item was discussed twice. Initially at the start of the meeting, and then again when Jingling arrived. In the initial discussion, some suggestions for encouraging academic staff to take large classes were floated. KathyM wondered what kind of incentives it was possible to offer and noted that remuneration was not an option. OliverD suggested a token system, where staff acquired a number of tokens relative to the size/difficulty of the class they taught; when they had acquired sufficient tokens, they could expend them by teaching a small class for one semester. Other suggestions for dealing with the teaching load were came from SriP. One was simply to compel people to teach certain courses ("You have been alocated to this course. You shall teach it"). Another suggestion was to use a system like the US Teaching Assistant (TA) approach, but AlanB argued that it wouldn't work in Australian conditions.
Jingling pointed out there seems to have been a significant drop-off in numbers in our advanced courses. This led to the suggestion that perhaps we could look at combining two advanced courses into one in some cases (covering most topics from both but with less depth). Another suggestion was that we should poll 3rd year students early each year to find out what courses they might be thinking about for 4th year and use this as a factor in determining course offerings (might also be useful for timetabling). Jingling also noted some discussion at a meeting he'd just attened where the Dean of the Engineering Faculty was suggesting the introduction of a Faculty-wide workload formula and changes to the funding model for Schools from the Faculty. Both of these would have an effect on determining course offerings.
Assessment Load and 12-week Semesters
The student reps conveyed a general feeling from the student body that this semester seemed to be more "pressured" than previous sessions. Almost all of the academic staff at the meeting indicated that they had not changed the number of assessment items (e.g. if they ran 3 assignments in a 14-week semester, they were still running 3 assignments in the 12-week semester).
Under the new timetabling system, there seem to be more timetable clashes than previously. Perhaps some popular course combinations are not being entered as CFCC's (clash-free course combinations). For 09s1 (too late for 08s2 now), we need to analyse popular course combinations and ensure that we at least tell the timetabling system that we don't want them to clash. This sounds like a job for the TMC early in 08s2.
There was some discussion about possible ways to deal with this (including various forms of "entrapment" (i.e. academic staff masquerading as "contract coders")). The general concensus was that it was impossible to prevent and very difficult to detect, so perhaps the only defense is to incorporate material from unsupervised prac work (such as assignments) into the (supervised) exam to "catch out" students who got someone else to do their prac work.
CATEI Evaluations for 08s1
There had been requests from some lecturers that CATEI evaluations finish before exams. PaulC didn't agree, so the evaluations will all finish on July24 (after the exam period). (Follow-up, not from the meeting: to encourage more participation by students in giving feedback, the School will offer an incentive for students to fill out CATEI evaluations (an eePC))
Minor Course Revision: BINF9010 - Bruno Gaeta
BrunoG presented the details of and background for revising BINF9010. This is part of the on-going revision of the Bioinformatics program.
The committee agreed that the proposal should be sent to the Faculty for approval.
Any other business
School of Computer Science & Engineering
The University of New South Wales
Sydney 2052, AUSTRALIA